Campaign for Real Ale celebrates 40th anniversary today
The number of breweries in the UK has quadrupled since CAMRA’s formation in 1971 — there are now over 770 real ale breweries producing over 3,000 different ales.
CAMRA, which now has over 120,000 members, was formed by Michael Hardman, Graham Lees, Jim Makin and Bill Mellor while visiting a pub in Ireland. The quartet had become deeply disillusioned with the domination of the market by a handful of national brewing companies, determined to push a lower quality of keg beer brands into the market, displacing smaller, local breweries from pubs.
CAMERA of course is an independent, voluntary, consumer organization based in St Albans, England, whose main aims are promoting real ale, real cider and the traditional British pub. It is now the largest single-issue consumer group in the UK. CAMRA’s campaigns include promoting small brewing and pub businesses, reforming licensing laws, reducing tax on beer, and stopping continued consolidation among local British brewers. It also makes an effort to promote less common varieties of beer and other traditionally brewed beverages including stout, porter, mild, traditional cider, and perry.
As part of today’s celebrations, CAMRA is currently asking its 120,000 members to vote for their top 40 campaigners of all time, and reflect upon which campaigns have had the greatest impact.